Monday, August 29, 2005

Iraq's constitution and religious principles

The Draft Iraqi Constitution is now available in english.

Its preamble and basic principles mirror a very akward compromise between western values and Islamic principles. What looks as a necessary concession to western 'friends' is likely to be the object of unrelenting disagreement and social instability. Ironically enough, its preamble would probably constitute a model for Papa Ratzi and any other christian fundamentalist, who advocate the insertion of christian values in the european constitution.

I quote some parts of the Preamble and of art 2;

PREAMBLE: "Recognizing God's right upon us; obeying the call of our nation and our citizens; responding to the call of our religious and national leaders (and our national forces and politicians) and the insistence of our great religious authorities and our leaders and our reformers, we went by the millions for the first time in our history to the ballot box, men and women, young and old, on Jan. 30, 2005, [...] to create a new Iraq"

ART 2: "1st -- Islam is the official religion of the state and is a basic source of legislation:

(a) No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam.

(b) No law can be passed that contradicts the principles of democracy.

(c) No law can be passed that contradicts the rights and basic freedoms outlined in this constitution.

2nd -- This constitution guarantees the Islamic identity of the majority of the Iraqi people and the full religious rights for all individuals and the freedom of creed and religious practices like (Christians, Yazidis, Sabaean Mandeans.)

The latter article cited would please very much the german shepard in Rome. His on-going barking about christian roots of Europe would easily find a rest if phrased in the same terms: This constitution guarantess the Christian identity of the majority.

Unfortunately as we can easily detect in article 2 at the beginning, principles of Islam, democracy, and human rights are going to clash in irremediable ways.

It would be interesting to know whether art 2 outlines a ramking between islamic values, democracy, and human rights or whether those principles are meant to be taken together (?!? who is supposed to do that and how is a mistery).

The main lesson for us, however, is that any constitution drawing heavily on religious principles in its definition of identity is bound to create more problems than it can possibly solve.

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